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THE INSIDE TRACK | Morning Briefing

Davis Cup Heat Shows No Sign of Cooling Off

August 07, 2000|MIKE TERRY

Pete Sampras and Andre Agassi aren't alone in taking heat over not playing Davis Cup matches for their country.

Australian Mark Philippoussis is answering teammates' and critics' comments after he withdrew from last month's Davis Cup semifinal against Brazil.

Philippoussis, 23, cited a long Wimbledon campaign and a knee injury for taking himself off of the Australian team the weekend before it swept Brazil, 5-0, in Brisbane.

"My withdrawal was out of concern for my health . . . it is worth noting that after my participation in the first Davis Cup match of this year in Switzerland, I was forced to withdraw from two important ATP tour events shortly thereafter due to precisely the same concern."

A blast from teammate Patrick Rafter ignited the rift.

After losing the Wimbledon final to Sampras, Rafter said he wanted Philippoussis to "stop jerking us around," and either commit or withdraw from future Davis Cup matches.

They were supposed to patch up their differences the week after last month's semifinal, but have yet to meet.

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Trivia time: Who was the regular-season rushing leader in NCAA Division I-A last season?

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Gramps got game: Dallas Morning News columnist Tim Cowlishaw notes the nine-player trade between the Charlotte Hornets and the Miami Heat involved former Dallas Maverick first-round pick Dale Ellis.

"Is it me, or shouldn't Ellis be jacking up three-pointers in some sort of seniors rec league?" Cowlishaw wrote. "Think of it this way. Ellis broke in with the Mavs [in 1983] before Bobby Valentine became the Rangers' manager, before Brett Hull went to college."

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Pace yourself: Memo to the Dept. of Useless Trivia: Baltimore's 15-inning, 10-9 win over Tampa Bay that took 5 hours 16 minutes and ended at 12:33 a.m. local time Saturday, was the 15th time the Orioles have played a game that lasted at least five hours. They are 9-6 in those games.

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Taking the high road: At least one IAAF official remains adamant that high jump world-record holder Javier Sotomayor should not be allowed to compete in the 2000 Olympics.

The 32-year-old Cuban, the only man to jump 8 feet, was banned for two years after testing positive for cocaine during the Pan American Games at Winnipeg, Canada, last year. But his suspension was reduced to one year by the IAAF, meaning that Sotomayor could resume competing immediately and enter the Olympics next month.

"I know that he tested positive a few times," Arne Ljungqvist, vice president of track's governing body, told the Swedish news agency TT. "The decision to let him compete again is like a hit in my face. It's not fun to work right now. I can understand the public thinking that it's strange that we allow doped athletes to compete again."

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Trivia answer: Ladainian Tomlinson, Texas Christian, 1,850 yards.

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And finally: Cincinnati Red Manager Jack McKeon, on his team's run of injuries: "We've got more MRIs than RBIs on this team."

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